Sunday, May 14, 2006

Papergate 2006

You may recall last week when I wrote about the fact that someone was stealing my Weekend Edition New York Times. Like most of my problems in life, I tried ignoring this for a while hoping it would go away on its own so I wouldn't have to deal with it. It just seemed like there were not going to be any winners in this situation and that I, in fact, would end up being the big loser. After my paper was stolen on Saturday, I taped a little sign up on the inside door. It said, "Would the person who took my NY Times please return it to the vestibule" (yes, that's right, I didn't punctuate. A question mark seemed gramatically correct and yet totally unthreatening in the current situation). I avoided making a snarky remark about what a pathetic and petty crime that was by only allowing myself a small index card and fat marker with which to write the note. I was hoping to preserve my anonymity. Later that night when one of my friends came by she said, "I know who put that note up." A couple of days later when the GoodNeighbor emailed me to ask if I would feed his cats this weekend he opened with, "I'm sorry to hear someone is stealing your newspaper." Maybe the tip off was that the note was taped up at a spot that was about eye-level for someone 4'10"?

The next morning I creeped out onto the stoop at 8am and triumphantly snatched the Sunday paper. However, it was a hollow victory since I could imagine a future wherein myself and the newspaper thief kept setting our competing alarm clocks earlier and earlier in attempts to be the first one to grab the paper, which sometimes comes in a special plastic sleeve with a free sample of something or other included. Did you know that? You can take my Saturday paper, but god help you if steal my free sample of the new Dove Calming Night Soap. On second thought, don't take the paper either.

You see, the New York Times is my main source of weekend entertainment. The news, by its very nature of being new, is too timely for me to wait until the weekend; I get my news from public radio and internet news sources. I enjoy reading the Times for the essays, reviews, slice of life pieces and reportage of larger societal and global trends. I can think of several stories, just off the top of my head, that I read all the way through this weekend. That's a major coup, people. As a child of the MTV Generation I, like many of you, have an attention span of about 30 seconds. So if I'm willing to devote four minutes to reading something, you know you've really struck gold. The Sunday Times was especially entertaining today because it was ripe with convergences (and I'm probably using this concept incorrectly, but I'm going to go with it anyway, just so you know.) This story, whose headline read "In Darfur, Rape and Killing are Real; Cease-Fire is Just So Much Talk" was juxtaposed with a full page color ad on the next page for department store cosmetics. A photograph of a grieving family at the funeral for their son who was killed in Iraq ran next to the Chess column. The headline of the Chess column? "Is the Game Taking a Bad Turn? Stop, Think and Start Afresh." I'm not saying I find these things "funny ha-ha", I'm saying I find them "funny, oohhh my weltschmerz."

Last Saturday's paper was never returned. This weekend I managed to receive both Saturday and Sunday editions of the paper, a minor miracle that has not occured for several weeks now. Of course, I've now realized that anyone could be stealing my paper from the stoop, it need not be one of my neighbors which has cut down on my paranoia and hostility to my fellow tenants. I called the Times Customer Service department to see if there was anything that could be done. They gave me the number for the Home Delivery Locked Door department. Sounds rather Holmesian, no?

No comments: